§ 84. Mr. Dribergasked the Minister of Transport how much will have been spent by 31st July on repairs and improvements to the M.1 motorway; what proportion this sum represents of the total estimated cost of repairs and improvements; by how much the cost of these repairs and improvements will increase the total cost of construction of this motorway and exceeds the original estimates therefor; and what steps he takes to examine the original estimates submitted by contractors for motorway works to ensure their accuracy and to recover excess expenditure.

§ Mr. MarplesAbout £1.75 million. Repairs are an essential part of the continuous maintenance of a highway: it is not possible therefore to estimate how much will finally be required for repairs to M.1. It is estimated that a further £1.25 million will be needed over the next 12 months. I should emphasise that improvements to bring the motorway up to current design standards account for the major part.

Excluding expenditure on repairs and improvements the total cost of the motorway is about £29 million, subject to settlement of outstanding claims; the original estimates totalled £24.7 million.

Motorway contracts, which are let by competitive tender, are in the form usual for civil engineering work. The amount paid to the contractor therefore depends primarily upon the measured amount of work actually carried out, which is paid for at the rates specified in the contract. The total amount paid may exceed the tender sum because the latter is based on a bill of estimated quantities furnished to the contractor. No question of the accuracy or otherwise of contractor's estimates or the recovery of excess expenditure arises.